The M600 LAMV
The M600 Light Aerial Multi-purpose Vehicle (LAMV) is an aircraft with the vertical take-off and landing capabilities of a helicopter and the maximum speed of a high performance aircraft and without the limitations of either. Using these capabilities the M600 can shave critical minutes from a variety of missions where operational flexibility and speed are imperative. Forces using the LAMV would have unmatched speed and agility in positioning and repositioning from widely dispersed locations allowing them to achieve operational objectives quickly and decisively.
Moller International’s low-cost, small unit VTOL aircraft incorporate many of the features of the V-22 Osprey, without the accompanying complexities. Like the V-22, the Skycar combines a high cruise speed (265 knots for the M600) with the ability to land and take off vertically from “unimproved” landing areas. The VTOL payload of the M600 is 1,250 lbs, which allows for up to six passengers or a combination of crew and cargo. Suggested configuration for Search and Rescue (SAR) or medical evacuation (Medivac) missions is a pilot and a medic, with space for two injured. Where a short take off or landing (STOL) is possible a 200-foot rollout provides for net payloads of over 2,000 lbs.
The M600’s combined VTOL and airspeed capabilities provide extremely rapid response. SAR, medivac, drug interdiction, critical logistic supply deliveries, surveillance or special personnel transport are examples where minutes saved can literally mean the difference between success and failure, life and death, or thousands of dollars. For a more detailed discussion of the capabilities see “A Revolutionary Vehicle for the Future” by Colonel Larry Harman (USA-Ret), Director of the Combat Service Support Battle Laboratory at the Army Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia or “Winning an Asymmetric War with the Skycar” by LTC James P Thomas, 304th SB, 3rd Expeditionary Force, Sustainment Command LNO, Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The M600 is being developed by Moller International to meet guidelines suggested by representatives of the US military. Helicopters have traditionally offered the flexibility of VTOL applications allowing for ingress and egress into a limited space where fixed wing aircraft do not have access. The performance penalties for using helicopters as compared to fixed wing aircraft have been low speed, limited range and restricted operational ceiling. In aircraft like the M600, vectored thrust allows the use of all the installed engine power when in conventional flight. The high thrust-to-weight ratio allows outstanding climb, accelerations and decelerations, and maneuver. For example, the M600’s projected maximum climb rate is more than a mile per minute.
Moreover, the M600’s engines have many of the characteristics of turbine-powered aircraft without the accompanying complexity and massive fuel consumption of the latter. For example, in cruise the M600 burns only 1 pound of fuel per minute. Moller’s M600 operational characteristics are predicted to provide a maximum dash speed of 395 mph, a range of 750 miles, and operational altitude of over 25,000 ft.
The M600 could also meet the requirements of commercial high-value cargo delivery, air taxi and emerging VTOL transportation service providers.
Modified Civilian Models
The Skycar technology was developed for civilian applications, however the aircraft's combination of VTOL and high speed overcome its payload restrictions and make it a likely choice for many non-combat oriented military missions. Modified 1-, 2-, 4- and 6-passenger models may allow the Skycar technology to play a key role in logistical support, search and rescue, medical evacuation, intelligence gathering, command and control and other missions.
Stiletto - A single-seat, high-speed, VTOL-capable aircraft intended for reconnaissance and special operations.
Conquestor - A two-seat, high-speed, VTOL-capable aircraft intended for reconnaissance, special operations and search & rescue missions.
Simulated Reconnaissance Patrol
Below is a great animation made by Jesse Levin using the free Microsoft Flight Simulator Skycar M400 plug-in. Like his "Flight to the Hamptons", this video features the Skycar in action, but instead of New York you'll see the Skycar in a simulated Middle Eastern town that has been set up at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which is a major training center for the United States Marine Corps. Great job, Jesse!